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September was an interesting month for our family. The first part of the month was spent watching weather reports. The watching eventually turned into running away from Hurricane Irma.
The morning we evacuated, we had 45 minutes to pack and get on the road. I told the kids to bring two favorite items to bring with them. Piper chose a play sword and bow, and Londyn decided on a purse and stuffed animal. I grabbed a few pairs of clothes and a few goodies stashed away in the freezer. We needed food for the trip, so (frozen) homemade muffins and granola were perfect.
Irma downgraded to a weaker hurricane than first predicted before reaching Tampa Bay. We were able to return home after a week on the road. I had to toss everything in my freezer and refrigerators because the power was off for 5 days.
The second half of September was spent in Alaska with Dustin’s family, including his 94 year-old grandfather who arranged the trip.
Upon arriving in Anchorage, we spent two days touring the city before taking a small plane to a wilderness lodge on the Alaska Peninsula. The week-long time in the wilderness was incredible. We caught silver salmon, watched baby bears play with their mama, walked the shore of the Bering Sea, and ate plenty of fresh salmon and moose.
We just boarded the plane to return home.
It’s been a long month—an emotional and exciting one.
Once we return home, I need to restock everything I lost in my refrigerators and freezers. I’ve already warned Dustin about the large grocery bill we’ll probably have over the next few weeks since I need to replace even the basics—mayo, maple syrup, mustard, etc.
The good news is that many of the freezer foods I lost were prep-ahead meals that were made with basic pantry ingredients. High on my list is granola, particularly today’s granola recipe.
This granola recipe has quickly become one of my absolute favorites to make once a month in large batches and freeze for later. I can eat this granola for breakfast, lunch, a snack, dessert—whenever, it’s that good.
The cacao nibs provide a healthy dose of chocolate. The maple syrup and olive oil provide the perfect balance of sweet and acidic. And the dried fruit—cherries and apricots—add an extra touch of sweetness and chewiness.
Sweet and Salty Chocolate Granola
An easy-to-make homemade granola made with cacao nibs, olive oil, maple syrup, and dried fruit. Slightly sweet and salty. Inspired by a recipe video from Bon Appetite (which I can't find anymore).
Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, and salt.
Pour the olive oil and maple syrup over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.
Spread the granola over the parchment paper. Bake the granola for 45 minutes, until toasted and golden.
Once the granola has been removed from the oven, stir in the dried fruit. Enjoy the granola warm, or allow it to cool before storing in containers. The granola will keep on the counter for about a week, in the fridge for a few weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.